How Do Carotenoids Help Relieve Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome is a series of eye problems caused by prolonged, uninterrupted use of computers or other digital devices. Average Americans spend around 6 hours a day on TVs, computers, phones or other digital devices.  The symptoms of Digital eye strain include:

  1. Eye strain and eye fatigue
  2. Dry or red eyes
  3. Irritated eyes
  4. Blurred vision
  5. Double vision
  6. Headaches
  7. Shoulder/neck/back pain
  8. Sleep issues

What are the causes of Digital eye strain?

Blue light

Digital devices emit blue light. Blue light is part of the visible light with short wavelength and high energy. Adequate exposure to blue light is essential to boost attention, reaction times and mood. However, excessive exposure to blue light can disrupt sleep cycles because blue light at night can suppress the secretion of melatonin that regulates the circadian rhythms. In addition, long-term eye exposure to excessive blue light may cause macular degeneration.

Less blinking

When we are staring at the computer screens, phones or TVs, our eyes blink as low as 5 times a minute. Our eyes normally blink 15-20 times a minute. Blinking moist and lubricate eyes, less blinking causes eyes to dry and irritate.

Focusing on a fixed distance

The ciliary muscle contracts or relaxes to view objects in varying distance. To see fine detail in close distance, ciliary muscle contracts to cause the lens more spherical adapting to short range focus. Long-time, interrupted use of computers and phones can cause ciliary muscle to strain and tire. Consequently, people may experience headaches, blurred vision and double vision due to the dysfunction of ciliary muscle.

Incorrect sitting posture

Improper sitting posture is the main cause of shoulder, neck and back pain when using computers and digital devices for extended time.

Which carotenoids help relieve digital eye strain the best?

Carotenoids are a group of natural yellow, orange and red pigments found in foods. 4 main carotenoids benefit eye health are beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and astaxanthin. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in body and it helps develop healthy vision and night vision. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are mainly found in dark green leafy vegetables. Astaxanthin is mainly found in sea foods such as algae, salmon, lobster and ect.

Lutein, zeaxanthin and astaxanthin are responsible for digital eye strain relief. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in high concentration at back of the eye, creating a protective layer that absorbs harmful blue light before it reaches the photoreceptor cells in the retina. Lutein and zeaxanthin protect eyes from the damage of blue light.

Astaxanthin, on the other hand, is found in the front of eye and also in ciliary muscle. Astaxanthin has been found clinically to improve the endurance of ciliary muscle, support the tear gland function and improve tear quality.

The three carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin and astaxanthin provide a complete protection on eyes from digital eye strain.

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